50 Renter Remedies That’ll Optimize Your Space Without Angering Your Landlord

updated May 21, 2024
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Renter Remedies badge on top of grey and white kitchen.
Credit: Brittany Purlee

Many of the writers and editors at Apartment Therapy are renters. Consequently, we understand the hesitancy of drilling holes into walls or even repainting walls for fear of losing a security deposit. Still, we don’t let those limitations stop us from enjoying — or personalizing — our homes. Quite the opposite, in fact! We actually enjoy searching out renter-friendly tools that help you make the most of your home. So, we decided to make it official and compile our gotta-have-it apartment hacks in a series called Renter Remedies. Here, we’ll be sharing our favorite game-changing apartment finds that won’t anger your landlord when you move out.

Storage and organization are two of the biggest challenges of living in an apartment or any small space. Any storage and org tools you buy need to be able to adapt to all the nooks and crannies of your space and not damage your walls, doors, or cabinets with metal screws. Luckily, our editors are passionate about finding practical and affordable solutions, so we have plenty of ingenious finds to share. Below, check out the cleaning, storage, and organizing tools that our editors recommend for optimizing your rental space to meet your needs. And make sure to keep checking in, as we’ll continue to update this post with more apartment-friendly finds as we discover them!

Storage Solutions

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Increase your wardrobe space without having to drill extra shelves or a hanging rod into your closet. These handy organizers come in a pack of three and hang right on your door. They're also able to accommodate any kind of hanger and can hold up to five hangers each. What's more, you can also use the organizers as makeshift clothes drying racks. One Amazon reviewer deemed them the "best thing ever created, especially for small living spaces."

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Being able to drill shelves into the wall is a luxury many homeowners take for granted. If you don't have that option, you might want to try using a storage cart instead. We love this slim rolling cart because it's, well, slim, so it can simultaneously hold a lot and fit neatly between furniture and appliances. Use it to house laundry supplies, pantry items, shower products, and whatever else its four sturdy tiers will accommodate. And, because the cart has wheels, you'll have no problem transporting it from one room to another.

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Shelves are incredibly versatile as storage options, and these stylish, minimalist ones can be installed without drilling holes, thanks to a strong adhesive backing that sticks to tiled walls. AT managing commerce editor Tamara has been happily using one above her stove as a spice rack. "As a pro shopper, it takes a super-innovative product to blow me away, so when I say I’ve never seen a product like this, I’m not joking around," she says. "Now, everything is within arm’s reach, and I can spot what I need in just a few seconds." The shelves come in small, medium, and large sizes and should only be used on tiled surfaces, as the adhesive could damage painted or wallpapered walls.

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was $78.99

You'll see plenty of shelving options in this wide-ranging list, and this tiered freestanding number is among our favorite finds. At under $100, it's quite affordable. Most importantly, though, its sturdy frame will never waver no matter how much you load it up. The shelf manages to hold a lot vertically without taking up a lot of floor space, plus, its clean lines and white finish will match the design of almost any bathroom.

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Yamazaki Home

Many of your biggest appliances and furniture pieces can be retrofitted to assist in your storage journey. Your refrigerator is a perfect example. Yamazaki makes several clever magnetic bins and baskets that cling to your fridge, and AT contributor Erin found that this divider basket offers the perfect extra bit of storage that her kitchen needed. "By far the easiest shelf you'll ever install!" she wrote. "For my kitchen, this Yamazaki Magnetic Storage Basket has been essential to decluttering my already-cramped kitchen. Instead of using the top of the fridge to hold items, I can now organize them in this easy-to-access shelf without taking up any extra space."

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One of the smartest places to add extra storage is beneath your existing storage. These baskets slide onto shelves and turn unused cabinet space into modular shelving perfect for keeping small boxes and dry ingredients. They're available in a bronze finish and can quickly be relocated to wherever you need them. “I have a pantry with well-spaced shelves for placing tall items. Not everything in my pantry requires tall spacing so these hang down and fill the empty space while creating additional storage so that everything isn’t in one big cluster," wrote one Amazon reviewer. "They hold large boxes of storage bags or canned goods making them big and strong enough to be a great organizing solution.”

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Let's get two things out of the way: This shower caddy is a splurge, and it's 9 feet tall. But it still made our Best List for a reason, or rather, multiple reasons. Its tall height is actually not that daunting when you consider that the pole expands from 6 to 9 feet. This essentially just allows you to prop it upright in your shower so that you can use its three shelves to store your shampoos, shower gels, and more. We also appreciate how slim the caddy is; even if your shower is positively tiny, you'll have no problem incorporating this luxurious fixture into the space.

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Tidying your WFH space doesn't just entail dusting your desktop and straightening out your office supplies — managing unruly cords is also crucial. This task doesn't have to be annoying. All you need is a set of these cable management trays, which our Commerce SEO Editor swears by. "All in all, it probably took me about 10 minutes to complete this project," Sarah wrote. "Best of all, when you’re looking at the desk straight-on, you can’t see these trays at all. They truly work like magic!" And at $13 per tray, they don't cost a fortune.

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If your current toilet paper holder is in a hard-to-reach spot, you need this affordable solution, which can hold either a standard or jumbo-sized toilet paper roll. You can adhere it directly to a convenient spot on the wall and later take the holder down if you move, leaving no damage behind. Plus, you'll free up some floor space by getting rid of your old one and swapping it for this more compact version.

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Another thing renters need to be cautious of is not scratching the floor. You might not think about it, but even something lightweight, like a storage basket, can leave behind a gnarly streak if you slide it across your hardwood. As a result, we recommend investing in these under bed rolling bins for all of your out-of-season clothing storage needs. "I was able to fit a good amount of items in these two rolling bins," Tamara wrote after trying them. "I also love that the top is transparent, so you can easily see what’s inside quickly."

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Yamazaki Home

If you rent, you probably love magnets — and for good reason! Take this magnetic key holder, for instance. You can simply stick it onto your fridge and keep keys, dog leashes, and other daily necessities within easy reach if your kitchen is near your front entryway. Deputy lifestyle director Maddie was tired of not having an entryway key drop zone until she tried this product. "The holder is still excellent for folks who don’t happen to greet their fridge immediately after getting home," she also noted. "Although it’s magnetic, the holder also comes with an attached adhesive strip that allows it to stick to walls, which makes it a renter-friendly entryway solution."

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was $37.95

A lack of under-sink storage space doesn't necessarily have to require a costly renovation. Instead, you can supplement your pedestal sink with this base-hugging organizer. It has two tiers, each of which can hold up to 10 lbs. Other than that, there’s no limit to what you can store on it, including hair products, skincare, and shower accessories. The curved rail at the top even doubles as a towel holder, and because the shelves have slotted bottoms, excess water will run right off, helping to prevent rust in the long run.

Kitchen & Dining

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Depending on where you rent (take NYC for example), chances are your apartment doesn't have a pre-installed faucet sprayer. Tamara wished for one in her kitchen before coming across this $13 drill-free attachment on Amazon. After adhering it to her faucet, she gave the new gadget a try and instantly came to love it. "Once you get it installed, you’ll be on your way to washing dishes like a pro," she wrote. "In addition to washing the dishes, this attachment is also a game-changer for cleaning my sink and getting all those corners (and the bits of food that hang out there) I could never reach with my standard faucet aerator. Long gone are the days of putting in extra elbow grease to clean my dishes (especially when food has stuck on overnight)."

2 / 8
Home Depot

If your rental has a tiny kitchen, chances are you've had to implement your own makeshift island or storage cabinet to create some extra counter space. Whatever the case may be, you're now likely short on floor space. Alleviate the issue with this clever in-cabinet trash can, which is produced by one of our favorite home organization brands, simplehuman. It hooks right onto any cabinet door so that you don't have to occupy your limited space with a huge container. And although this trash can might look small, its 10-liter size can hold a deceptively large amount.

3 / 8
was $8.99

The space around the base of your kitchen faucet always seems to get covered in water, soap, and food residue. But with this silicone splash guard, you can prevent unwanted buildup and long-term damage. The mat fits around most faucets and has built-in drainage spouts to let water run back into the sink. And if it gets a little dirty, you can pop it in the dishwasher or give it a quick rinse to make it look good as new.

4 / 8

Technically, the cult-favorite AeroPress Clear is meant to function as a portable coffee maker, but if you're short on counter space, there's no reason you can't use it at home, too. (Trust us, you'll definitely want to.) Ian, our sister site's senior commerce editor, initially thought the gadget too good to be true, but it really does make three different kinds of coffee: American drip-style, cold brew, and espresso-style. "The AeroPress Clear is not gimmicky, nor does it fail to deliver on its many promises," he wrote. "This is my new favorite way to make coffee, and I can’t wait to mess around with grind size, temperature, and ratio."

5 / 8
was $11.99

Every baking enthusiast has likely struggled with efficiently storing their mixer attachments. The good news is you no longer have to deal with a cluttered, messy drawer full of them because you can now buy these adhesive holders, which can be drilled into the bottom of your cabinet or attached using double-sided tape for a renter-friendly option. Although the holders were made with KitchenAid mixer attachments in mind, they're compatible with many attachments, no matter the brand. The next time you're making muffins or mixing bread dough, you'll have everything you need within easy reach.

6 / 8

Pot and pan lids have a tendency to clutter up kitchens because they're large and oddly shaped. But you can organize them neatly if you look for the right places to store them, like on the inside of your cabinet doors. These rubber holsters stick onto surfaces and keep your lids from piling up awkwardly. Arrange them in a vertical row to store multiple lids in one small space. "Finally my saucepan lids are out of the way and stored neatly," a happy reviewer wrote. "The holders are easy to fit and do not come unstuck, like others I have tried in the past. They look lovely and stylish too, which is a bonus."

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Oftentimes, the apartment you move into isn't decked out with the newest appliances. But you can specifically prevent your dishwasher from being an eyesore with the help of this brilliant magnetic cover. It's available in 19 pretty prints and fits most standard-sized dishwashers. (You can also cut the PVC material to make the cover fit.) Say goodbye to an ugly white surface and hello to a mood-boosting image that you can later remove without causing damage.

8 / 8

You're rental probably didn't come with a fire extinguisher, and the dry chemical-filled tanks can be heavy and difficult to use, anyway. You can much more easily prevent your apartment from being engulfed in flames with this emergency fire blanket, which is made from two layers of woven fiberglass fabric and an inner layer of fire-retardant film. If a kitchen fire should break out, just throw the handy device on top of the flames to stop them from spreading.

Cleaning & Repairing

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Even if your landlord won't spring for an in-unit washer and dryer, you can have the convenience of doing your laundry whenever you want with this portable washing machine. It can clean about one week's worth of clothes in a single cycle and includes a drying tub, too. You may have to do a little work to find the best way to fill and empty it with water, but it's a great way to do laundry on demand. "It is not built for towels and sheets, but we all have our flaws, don’t we?" says AT contributor Molly. "Do air-dried clothes feel a little stiff? Sure. But I cannot beat the convenience of being able to cook dinner, do laundry, and watch Netflix at the same time, all in the comfort of some freshly washed sweatpants."

2 / 9
was $39.99

It's rare to have a landlord who actually fixes things when they inevitably break, so you're usually better off repairing them yourself. It's not that hard in most cases, but you will need a good tool kit. Ian said this one comes with every tool you could possibly need as a renter, including a hammer, wrench, scissors, hex keys, screwdriver set, and more. "[It] has everything I need to hang a painting, install shelves, put together furniture, tighten lids on pots and pans, and pretend I know what I’m doing with a pair of pliers," he wrote. "As far as its footprint, it’s super compact, which means I can store it pretty much anywhere."

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Yamazaki Home

If you're not aware by now, Yamazaki is the best place to find slim magnetic organizers, such as this caddy that attaches to your laundry units. The organizer manages to take up as little space as possible while holding all your washing essentials, including detergent, dryer sheets, cleaning supplies, and more. When we originally wrote about this product, we likened it to a laundry command station, and, well, that description still stands. The rack is also easy to assemble, clean, and take with you if you move!

4 / 9

Do you have an unsightly scratch on your wooden floors or window sill? Hide it with these furniture repair markers. A set of 12 is just $10, and you get six different colors in both crayon and marker form, ensuring coverage for a variety of finishes. With nearly 7,000 five-star ratings, the markers are a hit with Amazon customers, who say they work splendidly.

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was $249.99

As you've seen, you can buy portable washers and two-in-one portable washer and dryer units. But perhaps you have an at-home washing machine already and want a faster solution to air-drying. Well, the Panda portable dryer is perfect for the job. We included it in our list of the best portable dryers, and this option is especially ideal for renters because of its compact size. The dryer offers a smaller 1.6 cubic feet capacity, can handle up to 5.5 pounds of laundry, and has two heat modes.

6 / 9
was $12.99

All renters need a solution that lifts sticky residues from surfaces around the house, and Goo Gone was made just for that. You can use it on a variety of materials, including wood, drywall, faux stainless steel, and more, so if a member of the family accidentally gets gum or crayon on a kitchen appliance, you can undo the damage. Plus, Goo Gone is just great to have on hand for simpler tasks, like getting stickers off glass decor.

7 / 9
was $109.99

If your landlord lets you have pets, lucky you. That being said, their accidents can leave permanent stains and odors if you don't clean them properly. That's where Dirt Devil's portable spot cleaner comes in. This powerful machine works on carpets and other upholstery to tackle tough spots with ease. Alicia's sister Bre, who owns two dogs, swears by it. "I have owned several spot cleaners, but the Dirt Devil is by far my favorite!" she said. "It is a lifesaver when it comes to cleaning pet stains off the carpet and couch. It removes the stain in around 5-10 seconds. I deep-cleaned my couch cushions and I was shocked by how much dirt it pulled out!"

8 / 9
was $15.99

To not have to repair your shower drain because it's been clogged with hair, invest in a TubShroom. It goes inside your drain to catch hair without disrupting the flow of water, so you don’t have to worry about clogging the tub. "Besides being super effective at keeping our drain free of hair, it’s also super easy to clean and hasn’t had any discoloration (and I doubt it will since it’s stainless steel)," Ian wrote in his review of the TubShroom. "Plus, you can hardly tell anything is actually in the drain because it blends in with the stainless steel shower fixtures, and you don’t even see all the hair that it traps." Think of all the money you'll save on snakes and Drano!

9 / 9

If your place comes furnished, you'll want to take extra care not to scratch or scuff the sofa. This can be especially difficult if you own pets, but there's a simple solution that'll help keep you and your landlord happy. It comes in the form of this velvet slipcover, which slips right over your sofa. Available in multiple sizes and colors, it looks pretty decent, and it'll help keep the leather or fabric upholstery underneath totally intact.

Wall, Lighting & Decor

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A great alternative to drilling holes in the wall to hang curtains, this tension rod can hold up to 30 pounds, allowing you to decorate your window frame with any drapes of your choosing. Commerce editoral assistant Morgan loves this product for its sturdiness and unique locking mechanism, which prevents you from having to twist the rod to secure it. "Instead of having to adjust the rod repeatedly, I assembled and put it in place in a single go," she wrote. She added that after having the rod up for weeks, it hasn't shifted or slipped at all.

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Urban Outfitters

As we've already established, magnets are going to be your best friends when you're renting. Instead of mounting shelves to your walls, for example, you can adorn magnetic surfaces with fun pieces like this disco ball shelf. Stick it onto your fridge or whiteboard and use it to store anything from office supplies to beauty products. You could even use it as a planter! In addition to decluttering the surrounding areas, the planter will also double as decor.

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One of the most annoying aspects of renter life is poor shower lighting. Oftentimes, small apartment bathrooms have one or two measly overhead lights that are simultaneously harsh and unhelpful for self-care tasks. That's why we recommend picking up a waterproof lamp such as this TikTok-famous find. Sarah put one on her shower shelf to create a spa-like ambiance. "As someone who suffers from headaches and the occasional night migraine, I’m just naturally sensitive to light," she wrote. "In using this light, not only did I gain a little extra boost of mental relaxation, but I also helped keep my body in a calm state." Of course, you can use the battery-operated lamp in any area of the home — even your outdoor space!

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Tulip Home

If you're unable to remove an unsightly "boob" light on your ceiling, cover it up with a shade from Tulip, which requires zero tools or drilling for installation. Morgan reviewed the brand's Gem shade, noting that it served as a stylish cover for her otherwise ugly overhead lighting. "I had it ready to go in minutes," she wrote in her review. "With the lights off, I was already obsessed, but I was stunned when I flicked on my light switch. The glow that the yellow-colored shade gives off is mellow and vibey in a way that I never thought overhead lighting could be (sans complete removal and replacement)."

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was $199.00

You can't exactly knock down a wall in your rented apartment to make it feel bigger, but you can prop a full-length mirror against it to achieve a similar effect. Alicia loves this affordable Walmart mirror, which looks like something you could find at a much more expensive retailer. "I think that it adds a touch of elegance and also helps establish my living room area as a space that’s very separate from my kitchen (which is not divided by any wall)," she wrote in her review. By reflecting natural light, the mirror will also make your space look and feel brighter.

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It might seem like a niche problem, but plant owners know that fast-growing climbing plants can quickly overwhelm a smaller area. That's why we recommend these peel-and-stick wall clips, which come in a pack of 100 and securely hold vines up and out of the way without eliminating your greenery. "My secret to managing four pothos plants, all of which have extremely long vines, is this simple Amazon find," this review reads. "While they may not seem to do anything for your pet, keep in mind that pothos plants are poisonous to cats and dogs, so keeping their vines and leaves out of reach is a huge help." In essence, this $9 product keeps your place stylish and safe — not a bad deal.

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Pottery Barn
was $149.00

You unfortunately don't have control over where your home's windows are located, but you can effectively block out unwanted light with this stylish blackout curtain. Alicia has had hers for over a year and noted that it completely blocks out the floodlight outside her building. "I can’t even see my hand in front of my face," she wrote in her review. She also added that "the curtains do muffle the sound a bit — like my neighbor letting her dog out at 6 a.m."

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This clear tape is strong enough to hold up framed artwork and planters, but it's also forgiving enough that with a little soap and water, you can remove it from your walls with no damage. AT contributor Ashley found that it even worked on brick walls around a fireplace, which tend to be too rough or dirty for these kinds of products. "This tape might not be for everyone and everything, but it has made my life a trillion times easier," she says. "What I love about it is that it allows me to hang things without nailing them to the wall, no drilling or making holes required." The tape can also be used to keep rugs in place and won't damage hardwood floors.

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Not too long ago, we compiled a list of some of our favorite battery-operated wall sconces that are perfect for renting. Among our picks was this slim cylindrical sconce, which is great if you want a less obvious light source. Whether you use it as a reading light above the bed or as an ambient light by the sofa, the sconce will only give you the illumination you need, leaving the rest of your surroundings dim and cozy. We also love that this fixture has a built-in motion sensor, which is convenient for late-night bathroom runs.

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was $9.99

Museum putty is good for a variety of things, especially if you have pets. Tamara loves using it to keep fragile decor safe from her two energetic cats, noting, "I didn’t want to sacrifice my chic items, so a Google search led me to museum glue, which has changed my life. I no longer have to worry about precious vases toppling over when they get a little too rowdy — and I love that it’s removable.” Renters will also love it for mounting photos and art, as the putty won't leave any damage or stains on the walls.

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If you live in a place that has vertical blinds, this nifty adapter is the easiest way to convert those blinds into curtains. They come in a set of two brackets that attach to both ends of the sliding rail of your blinds, and they stay secure with non-damaging clamps that screw into place. Then, just set a curtain rod into the U-shaped holsters and hang curtains that show off your personal taste. “I live in an apartment, I never thought I could have curtains (so sick of blinds!),” one thrilled Amazon reviewer wrote. “Now I have curtains up in every room and I’m not kidding when I say that it changed my life. I feel like my home is so much more homey and comfy, I love the way the light shines through my new curtains.” For window treatment inspiration, check out our favorite places to find stylish curtains.

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We really weren't lying when we said that you can find renter-friendly wall lights that also look great. Just look at these sconces that style shopping editor Blair put up in her own apartment! They're dimmable, remote-operated, rechargeable, and, most importantly, drill-free. "Looks-wise, these lights couldn’t be more spot-on," she wrote. "The squiggle arm feels fresh and different from most brass styles on the market, and the base itself hardly takes up much wall space at just 5 inches around. I’ve also discovered that just one remote works across both sconces (from up to 32 feet away), so I don’t have to keep tabs on two separate ones."

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was $19.99

Not only can you add peel-and-stick decals to your walls and windows, but you can also use them to change the look of your hard floors for the better! Just look at these snazzy adhesive tiles, which sport a classic black-and-white pattern you're likely to find in a number of upscale homes. We think the tiles would look great in the kitchen, foyer, or bathroom, and at $13 for a pack of 20, they're very affordable.

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was $45.99

These multi-surface LED lights arrive in a pack of two, and the best part is, each strip is magnetic. In other words, you don’t have to do any drilling to stick them under your cabinets or on the side of the fridge. You also have a choice between three modes: on, off, or motion sensor, which is nice when you’re merely stopping by a room to grab something and go. After 20 seconds of no movement, the battery-operated lights will shut off automatically.

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Cozy Winters

You might not be able to install heated floors in your home, but you can still keep your feet warm on drafty mornings with this ingenious solution. Simply slide the under-rug heating pad under your area rug, plug in its 8-foot cord, and wait for the surface temperature to adjust to the room’s temperature, or up to 75 to 80 degrees on average. You can even snag a pad in a runner size, which is great for the kitchen or bathroom.

Furniture & Appliances

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was $380.00

Chances are if you move often, you have a basic, no-frills bed frame. In this case, you might want to spiff it up with a headboard. The cool thing is, you don't have to mount one into the wall. Instead, you can pick up this trendy boucle headboard from Etsy. It attaches to the wall with strong, double-sided mounting tape that's included in the package, and it comes in a whopping 14 colors.

2 / 6

Depending on where you rent, you might be used to moving frequently. Consequently, you know what a pain it can be to take large furniture pieces from one apartment to another. The Thuma bed, however, simplifies the process. Tamara says the bed is now her favorite piece of furniture in her apartment. "The wooden frame corners are designed to perfectly fit into each other like a Tetris puzzle — it took less than 10 minutes to assemble with the help of my boyfriend (after we unboxed everything)," she wrote. "Most importantly, it’s super sturdy, so squeaking is in the past." When it's time to move, you can similarly disassemble the bed in minutes and rest assured that its frame won't become damaged once in the moving van.

3 / 6

It's technically not furniture, but a mattress can be just as difficult to move as a bed. That's why we recommend renters pick up a boxed mattress, such as this memory foam number from Serta. It boasts cooling materials and is designed to minimize movement disturbances from your partner. But, most importantly, the mattress arrives in an ultra-small box, so you won't struggle to haul it into your walkup.

4 / 6
was $350.31

This ultra-stylish, TikTok-famous AC is a solid cooling alternative for renters who don't have the luxury of central air conditioning. Blair recommends it for those after a small, noiseless unit, writing, "I love that it touts three different modes — fan, cool, or eco — as well as three fan speeds — low, medium, or high — depending on my preferences and the outside temperature." She went on to add that the unit was incredibly easy to install and can be controlled from the Windmill app, which is convenient if you want to save on energy costs but still come home to a cool apartment.

5 / 6
Albany Park
was $1498.00

Renters and frequent movers are often one and the same, so we recommend investing in modular furniture if you fall into either category. As far as modular sofas go, Best List editor Britt loves her Kova sofa from Albany Park, which you can pull apart to create two separate seats. "One of the things I dreaded the most the past few times I’ve moved, even when I transferred to a nearby apartment in the same complex, was moving the couch," she wrote. "It’s always been an ordeal and everyone complained the most about it. However, being able to break down this sofa into parts that are so much easier to handle will make moving it a breeze."

6 / 6
was $39.99

Power outlets (or the lack thereof) are a common issue whether you rent or own. If you're constantly wishing that your little studio had more plug-in spots, look no further than this ingenious side table, which has a built-in charging station. Not only is this piece incredibly compact (and stylish!), but it also lets you charge all of your devices at once. "The side table comes with two outlets and two USB chargers, which means that my boyfriend and I no longer jostle over the two available outlets," wrote senior commerce editor Alicia. "We now have a total of six — we more than doubled our charging space. It’s game-changing."